the brownies’ book: du bois e a construção de uma referência literária para identidade negra infanto-juvenil

valter roberto silvério


In the period from January 1920 to December 1921 a cooperation between Jessie Fauset, Augustus Dill and W.E.B. Du Bois resulted in the publication of a periodical called “The Brownies’ Book” (TBB) the first publication for North American black, and not white (colored people) children and young people. The creation of “The Brownies' Book” (TBB) was a pioneering event in African American literature in general and, more specifically, in the field of African American children's literature, as it was the first periodical composed and published by African Americans for black children who, until then, searched in vain for material that included a perspective on their experience and history. This article argues that the TBBs were one of the harbingers of the movement called the Harlem Renaissance, constituting a children's literary materialization of the path towards the emergence of what the philosopher Alain Locke called the New Negro. What was being formulated was both the deconstruction of stereotypes associated with blacks and the active projection/creation of a positive identification with their local and ancestral community. This paper seeks to identify the post-WWI discursive strategies and practices of de-racialization proposed for “the children of the sun”, as W.E.B. Du Bois called them, in order to stop seeing themselves “through the eyes of others” (Du Bois, 1903).


brownies' book; black child; african american children's literature; new negro; identity.


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